All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV)

ATV Laws and Restrictions

What is an ATV?

All-terrain vehicles (ATV) are designed primarily for off-road travel on low-pressure tires, which have three or more wheels, and handle bars for steering. ATVs do not include lawn tractors, battery-powered children’s toys or a vehicle that is required to be licensed or titled for highway use.


Titling an ATV

An owner of an ATV may make application for a title by submitting the following to the Department of Motor Vehicles:

  1. Completed DMV title application Form 400 for a title only
  2. Manufacturer's certificate of origin or previous title properly assigned to the applicant 
  3. $15.00 title fee
  4. Sales tax (there is no maximum sales tax on ATV's)

For additional information on titling an ATV reference SC Code of Law 56-19-1010, 1020, and 1030.


South Carolina’s ATV Safety Act became effective on July 1, 2011. The legislation provides safety regulations and requirements for operating ATVs. This information is a summary of the safety regulations and requirements found in the SC Code of laws pertaining to ATVs (Title 50, Chapter 26).


ATVs must have the following equipment in good working (operating) condition:

  1. An effective muffler system
  2. USDA Forest Service approved spark arrester
  3. Brake system

It is against the law for:

  1. Anyone to remove the Age Restriction Warning Label affixed to the ATV by the manufacturer.
  2. Anyone to operate an ATV:
    • One-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise unless it is operated with headlights turned on.
    • While under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance
    • In a reckless manner
  3. Parents or legal guardians to allow anyone less than:
    • six years of age to operate an ATV.
    • sixteen years of age to carry a passenger while operating an ATV
    • sixteen years of age to operate an ATV in violation of the Age Restriction Warning Label affixed by the manufacturer of the ATV.
  4. Anyone sixteen years of age or younger to operate an ATV unless accompanied by an adult.
  5. Anyone fifteen years old or younger to:
    • operate an ATV unless they successfully completed a “hands-on” ATV safety course approved by AVSI (All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Institute).
    • operate or ride an ATV in SC unless they wear a safety helmet and eye protection.

Links to ATV Resources:

Specialty Vehicle Institute of America

All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Institute
ATV Info

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